Local Farmers Work With Lawmakers

Chautauqua County Farm Bureau members in Albany meeting with adopted Senator Andrew Lanza and his staff member. Pictured from front center, clockwise are: Michael Jordan and his daughter, Dick Kimball, Evan Schiedel, Kaitlyn Whalen, Madison Woodis and Brandon Nickerson.

Farmers from Chautauqua County Farm Bureau spent two days in Albany visiting with lawmakers recently to highlight the organization’s state public policy priorities for the year.

They kicked things off with the Taste of New York Reception for state lawmakers, commissioners and staff. Following the evening event, members participated in the annual Lobby Day on Tuesday, March 5, where they met with both their local Senator and Assembly member as well as New York City lawmakers that the county Farm Bureau adopted.

Chautauqua County Farm Bureau advocated for a number of priorities this year. The organization supports critical funding for current agricultural, animal health, promotion, research and environmental programs in the final 2019-20 state budget, ensuring staff funding for positions at the Department of Agriculture and Markets and funding for a farm tire cost-share disposal from DEC Part 360 regulations through the Environmental Protection Fund.

Farmers also advocated for important budget funding for a myriad of agricultural research, promotion and marketing programs, to expand the Farm Workforce Retention Tax Credit to Christmas trees, maple, farm wineries and cideries and increase overall funding, and funding for research and eradication of tick-borne illnesses.

New York Farm Bureau priorities also include amending General Municipal Law 246 to allow farms with conservation easements to construct necessary farm buildings and structures, and support training for police and district attorneys on animal cruelty laws pursuant to current law.

Finally, farmers voiced their strong opposition to unworkable employer mandates in New York state, and advocated to remove unemployment insurance requirements for H-2A workers.

These priorities are based on member-approved public policies that originate every year at the county Farm Bureau level and are passed by the full delegate body at New York Farm Bureau’s State Annual Meeting in December.